Synthetic Biology & Industrial Biotech
Synthetic Biology is a relatively new discipline within the Biotech industry, having leapt onto the scene over a decade ago, largely emerging to address specific needs arising in the Industrial Biotechnology sector. There have been many definitions put forward over the years, but it is broadly accepted as being the application of engineering principles to improve and exploit biological processes for commercial gain. Consequently, a number of small start-ups predominate in the field and there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit amongst synthetic biologists, akin to that seen in the IT sector, where parallels are often drawn. The vision is that all biological parts can be standardised and taken “off-the-shelf” to build complex biological systems that can be used to improve upon various industrial or, more recently, biomedical processes.
The key to this vision is being able to identify parts that perform in a predictable fashion in any given biological system, and this remains the biggest challenge in Synthetic Biology. Fundamentally, a ‘part’ is a sequence of DNA that can be a gene, or promoter, a terminator, or any other genetic component that encodes a protein or regulates its expression. Parts are compiled to form systems within a “chassis” organism that contains all the components required to regulate the expression of constituent gene parts and facilitate the assembly of the target system, which may be a group of enzymes comprising a metabolic pathway that converts a cheap feedstock into a high-value chemical, for instance.
Choosing the Right Chassis
Untapped opportunities remain in the increase of industrial production yields, for many enzymes and proteins. By increasing production yields, the cost of goods for those proteins can be much reduced and profits maximized.
Different cell-based expression systems (e.g. bacterial, yeast, insect, mammalian) are suitable or preferable for the upstream production of different products, dependent on factors that include the complexity of the target protein being expressed, desired production yield and cost considerations.
Mammalian systems generally offer the lowest yields at high cost, but enable proper protein folding and complex post-translational modifications; conversely, bacterial (E. coli) systems offer high yields at low cost, but often fold eukaryotic proteins incorrectly and can't glycosylate. Yeast offers higher yield than mammalian and greater complexity than bacterial, at low cost, which proves optimal for expression of certain proteins and vaccines; further, for certain processes such as bioethanol production, yeast is by far the most suitable organism.
Synpromics is able to create promoters for any given chassis organism.
Synpromics Improves Industrial Biotech Processes
With its expertise in DNA promoter technology and with the ability to engineer a wide range of organisms, Synpromics is able to select cell expression systems that are most suited to each bioprocess. These are developed to be robust under a wide range of industrially relevant conditions and potentially enable highly desirable increases in production yields.
The company has a range of yeast promoter libraries that drive expression in response to changes in temperature, osmolarity or feedstock, addition of solvents or are simply designed to be more active by time as cultures in the bioreactor increase in cell density. For more information on our yeast promoter libraries please feel free to contact us using our online form.